THE COMMUNITY CHURCHA Brief OverviewNovember 22 2004 at 1:53 AM
|Gary McDade (no login)|
from IP address 126.96.36.199
THE COMMUNITY CHURCH
A Brief Overview
The Lord Jesus Christ established his church on the first Pentecost after the resurrection 33 A.D. in Jerusalem, Israel. The church of Christ was purchased with the precious blood of the Son of God (Acts 20:28). As his loving bride, the church wears his sacred name, the church of Christ (Eph. 5:21-33; Rom. 16:16). Jesus Christ is the head of this one bride, which is his body (Eph. 5:23; 1:21-23). And, "there is one body" (Eph. 4:4). In recent times, men have arisen who are ashamed of the name of Christs bride and body, "the church of Christ." One example emerges from The Christian Chronicle where a deacon from the former Southlake Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas stated that changing the name to the Southlake Boulevard Church and following a Baptist preacher by the name of Rick Warren through his book, The Purpose-Driven Church, was "removing a barrier to the community" (April, Vol. 57, No. 4). Dozens of examples like this can be cited from the March and April editions of The Christian Chronicle. The names being substituted in the place of the scriptural name "church of Christ" constitute a departure from heavens way. Salvation is only in the name of Christ, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Those who have become ashamed of Christ and his sacred name will be condemned, for he said, "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" (Mk. 8:38).
In the place of heeding the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20) by sowing the good seed of the kingdom, which is the word of God (Lk. 8:11), and being content and honored to be workers together with God (II Cor. 6:1) allowing him to give the increase (I Cor. 3:6), these people are following a so-called "paradigm" or model for church growth from Barrington, Illinois called "Willow Creek Community Church." They speak of "practical" Christian doctrine which is "pragmatic," meaning whatever works to bring in the numbers of people and dollars (The Bridge, Harding Graduate School of Religion, Volume 41, Number 4, July 2000, p. 1). Their goal clearly is to please "people today" or "contemporary Christians" (ibid.). And, from where did Bill Hybels, founder of WCCC, get this model now being so widely imitated among denominational people like Rick Warren and many Christians who formerly considered themselves to be members of the church of Christ? Hybels wrote in Rediscovering Church, "But what could seem like a patterned formula is actually a twenty-year response to the fluid, daily, unpredictable leading of God. The unimpressive truth is that we made the whole thing up as we went along, trusting the Holy Spirit for each next step, rarely seeing which direction the path ahead would take. It was only by following the voice of God--by listening for his particular call to us--that we could move forward with confidence" (p. 53). The Holy Spirit leads, guides, and directs only through his word, the Bible, today (Eph. 6:17; II Tim. 3:16-17). Therefore, taking away the Holy Spirit directly leading Hybels all that is left is, "The unimpressive truth is that we made the whole thing up as we went along. . . . "
A summary of this new model will be given in three points: 1) The strategy for changing the name to the Community Church, 2) the organizational structure of the Community Church, and 3) the evangelistic thrust of the Community Church. Point one, the name Community Church is preferred because traditional names are viewed as carrying unwanted baggage. Contemporary people want to be in charge of the church without old restrictions, so a break with the past is made in accepting a new name. Contemporary people do not want to learn Christian doctrine; they just want to be free to express themselves in whatever way they "feel" the Holy Spirit directly is leading them. Point two, the Community Church is organized around a twofold structure, large group celebrations and small affinity groups or cell groups. The way the professor of Christian doctrine at Harding University Graduate School of Religion in Memphis has organized the Community Church of which he is a shepherd is into small groups of eight to sixteen adults. Large group gatherings are celebrations; small group gatherings are "entry points." Informal dress, contemporary Christian music, testimonials, praise team presentations (music and drama), and hand clapping make up the celebration of the large group meetings. Sharing, praying, evangelizing, and Bible study make up the small group meetings. Point three, the evangelistic thrust of the Community Church centers around targeting the type of people the church wants to evangelize. Most pick younger (late thirties or early forties) people who are well educated and have good incomes. The one or ones in charge find out what that group wants and then sets out to unreservedly give it to them. Somehow granting these "contemporary people" what they want is supposed to generate within them holiness and communion with God.
The source from which the Community Church model or paradigm is making its way into the churches of Christ is out in the open. Sadly, it is the Christian schools. The generation who established these schools for the education of Christian young people in an environment conducive to Christian growth and development based on the inspired word of God are now deceased. Younger men impressed with the soaring expense of operating these enterprises know it will take large sums of money for them to continue to compete for the brightest and best students. Churches now primarily made up of older people have given their all to keep them viable, but their children have married and moved into other cities and communities; their pre-inflation blue-collar-worker dollars no longer are enough. At this point in time, not all of the Christian schools have succumbed to the pressure. They remain worthy of personal and financial support. But, those that are participating in the Community Church movement or are silent about it, thus, facilitating it, are not worthy of another dollar from the pockets of Christian parents who formerly have entrusted their precious children to them for instruction in righteousness (Eph. 5:11).
The schools that are known to be promoting the Community Church from the published sources earlier mentioned are these: Abilene Christian University, Harding University (the academy, undergraduate, and graduate schools are and have supported the Community Church. The dean of the graduate school, Evertt Huffard, is credited with starting the Downtown Church in Memphis way back in 1995. See: Harding Alumni Magazine, August 1995), Oklahoma Christian University, Lipscomb University, Pepperdine University, Rochester College, and Southern Christian University (a retired faculty member, Edward R. Barels, has gone on record in favor of the Community Church, so whether or not SCU itself favors the movement needs to be clarified by SCU officials. SCUs name appears in The Christian Chronicle articles). (See editor's note below.)
A leading characteristic of brethren who are in favor of the Community Church is a down play of Bible doctrine and an arrogant chiding of following the Bible as a "blueprint." Isaiah wrote, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20). Jesus said, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:20). Paul wrote, "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith" (Titus 1:13).
Editor's Note: Alan E. Highers has published the following statement in the January 2001 issue of The Spiritual Sword: "We are happy to note that SCU officials have come forward in a forthright manner in disassociating themselves from the community church movement. The chairman of the Board of Regents states: 'I assure you that we hold not one shred of support for the movement that you have described or any of its related false doctrines.' We appreciate this statement and we are pleased to set the record straight."
Getwell Church of Christ
1511 Getwell Road
Memphis, TN 38111-7299
CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE FACILITATES THE COMMUNITY CHURCH TAKEOVER OF CHURCHES OF CHRIST
|November 26 2004, 11:59 AM |
THE CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE FACILITATES THE COMMUNITY CHURCH TAKEOVER OF THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST
WHAT IS THE CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE?
The Christian Chronicle is published by Oklahoma Christian University. It is Edited by Bailey B. McBride. Glover Shipp is the Senior Editor. It is published monthly and has a worldwide readership.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY CHURCH?
Currently the best known expression of the Community Church is the model of Bill Hybels out of Barrington, Illinois, near Chicago called The Willow Creek Community Church. However, a Baptist preacher named Rick Warren while denying cloning Willow Creek has built The Saddleback Community Church in Orange County, California, which closely parallels Willow Creek, and has written a more understandable guide for duplicating the Community Church entitled The Purpose Driven Church.
These are denominational churches loosely affiliated with the group from which they came which merely have shrouded themselves with the name "Community Church." The cardinal rule among them is to appear non-traditional. They are characterized by a casual dress code, "contemporary" music, non-distinctive public speeches which endeavor to focus the attention of the assembly on a celebration-type atmosphere, inter-denominational acceptance, small group organization, personal testimonies, praise teams, and in their inception stages a brazen acceptance of financial support from churches they intend to take over.
HOW DOES THE CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE FACILITATE THE COMMUNITY CHURCH?
The Christian Chronicle, March 2000, speaks in the most glowing and favorable terms of the Community Church with only the exception of a very few scant references to the contrary. Of the six articles on the subject only one writer ventured to ask a few questions, and even he dared not speak one word of criticism, just alarm while advising a "wait and see" posture. Also, of the writers selected one has helped plant a Community Church in Searcy, Arkansas, another presented the view that "this change is our historical commitment to nondenominational Christianity," another said he believes their purposes to be "God-given," and yet another currently is the minister for a Community Church in Amarillo, Texas. The three pages devoted to the Community Church are clearly weighted in favor of it. Additionally, the editor of the feature, Lindy S. Adams, provided the Web site addresses for Willow Creek and Saddleback, facilitating their use. Two of the writers are professors at Harding University, one is adjunct instructor for Harding Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, one is president of Rochester College, two are self-styled church growth experts, and, as mentioned earlier, one is a minister for a Community Church. The selection of people with connections to schools supported by churches of Christ who will not oppose the Community Church to write the articles facilitates the movement by lending the impression of acceptability to the articles.
TELLTALE MISCONCEPTIONS OF THE EDITOR
The editor of the feature is laboring under at least two misconceptions regarding the church of Christ. One, in the introduction Adams wrote, ". . . the church they worked diligently to create. . . ." Men did not create the church of Christ; it is of divine origin (Eph. 3:9-11, 4:1-5, 5:23-25). Without doubt this misconception is why such liberties are being taken with regard to the church. The view seems to be if men created the church of Christ and it is not now what men want it to be, then just simply change it to fit the wishes of men today. Two, denominational church growth models can be adapted and altered to cause the churches of Christ to grow. The church of Christ is not a denomination (I Cor. 1:10, Eph. 4:4). The one responsible for its growth is God himself (I Cor. 3:6-9). The method of its expansion is the preaching and teaching of the word of God (Mk. 16:15, Acts 6:7). The church growth expert who teaches at Harding and has helped start Covenant Fellowship Community Church wants the readers to believe these Community Churches are "still within the Church of Christ mainstream." How can anyone expect that to be so when they do not even so much as retain the name Church of Christ? Their attempt at worship and congregational organization is a departure from the truth, yet they demand their followers to insist that they are center of the strait and narrow road. A Christian may have no fellowship with the unfruitful (I Cor. 1:10, Eph. 5:11). Their means and methodologies have nothing to offer the Lord's people. (I Thess. 5:5). Light and darkness have no communion (II Cor. 6:14). Brethren need to wake out of sleep, get back to teaching and preaching the word of God, and Christ will give all the light needed to advance his cause (Eph. 5:14).
HOW TO DEFEAT THE TAKEOVER
In closing, four suggestions are offered on how to defeat the takeover. One, by exposing the error of the Community Church and those favorable to it. It is right to be "set for the defense of the gospel" (Phil. 1:17). Paul left Titus in Crete to set things in order, hold fast the faithful word, exhort and convince the gainsayers, stop the mouths of the gainsayers, and rebuke them sharply (Titus 1:5-13). Jude 3 still calls for an earnest contending for the faith. Two, by refusing to fund the Community Church movement by withdrawing personal and financial support from those congregations and schools promoting the Community Church. Philippians 1:5 and 4:15 proves that those whom we support financially we are fellowshipping. If one is contributing into a church treasury, he is in fellowship with that which is supported out of that treasury. When the leadership of a local congregation is dedicated to the planting of Community Churches all of the members of that congregation are responsible for the planting of the Community Churches. By withdrawing personal and financial support from that congregation the take over will be thwarted. The Community Church begins as a parasite feeding off a thriving organism. A paradoxical phenomenon is occurring with the Community Church. Older, established churches of Christ are funding the vehicle of their demise when they support the Community Church. It is very sad to note that if this continues, the children and grandchildren of members of the churches of Christ will not know the truth about the church of the Bible because the Community Church advocates are changing everything about it under the pretense of church growth.
Three, by evangelizing the lost (Matt. 28:19, 20). No matter what the problems and challenges faced by the churches of Christ the gospel of Christ must continue to be preached to a lost and dying world. Many problems and challenges besieged the early church, yet the gospel was advanced to the point that Paul could write in Colossians 1:23 that every creature under heaven had the opportunity to hear it. The method authorized by God to reach lost souls is preaching (I Cor. 1:18-21). Imagine if The Christian Chronicle were dedicated to such a noble purpose instead of promoting the latest denominational craze. The millions who could be taught the Bible through that paper who are instead being coaxed into error make these developments all the more a shame. Four, by edifying those who are Christians (Eph. 4:15, 16). Paul said that by edifying "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph. 4:14). Through edification the Christian dons the whole armour of God in which he stands against the methods of the devil (Eph. 6:11).
Getwell Church of Christ
1511 Getwell Road
Memphis, TN 38111-7299
"I Want a Church That Meets My Needs"
|November 29 2004, 2:52 AM |
"I Want a Church That Meets My Needs"
By: William Woodson
The statement made in the title is not only the desire of many in the religious world, but is becoming the philosophy of many Christians, because many of us are seeking a religion that meets our needs. The phrase itself has virtually become a new religious term. Many persons praise or blame a particular congregation because it is or is not meeting my needs.
Let me hasten to say that if the phrase means that we need to satisfy spiritual hunger, then it is a good expression. For surely everyone ought to be in a Christian community where his/her deepest spiritual longings are being addressed. The voice of God needs to be heard through spiritual teachings, and we need opportunities to serve, love, and be called to repentance.
But being a part of the church to some means reaching for goals of self-actualization. So if the church doesnt fulfill certain expectations, wants and preferences, then they must move on to another emotional department store with different merchandise more appealing to their tastes.
Sadly, and probably without realizing it, many congregations have gotten into thinking that we have to do all these things and plan all these activities to meet peoples needs so they wont leave. Consequently, well-meaning leaders have turned Gods church into a merchandising institution. So we promote this program and that program for this group and that group.
But, in my judgment, the system has become turned upside down from the way God intended it to be. Whatever happened to the attitude in a Christians heart of Id like to be a part of this congregation because of what I can do to meet its needs? When are we most fulfilled? When our needs are met? Or when we meet the needs of Gods church on this earth? We ought to be a part of a congregation, not so that our needs can be met, but rather so that we may best meet the needs of Gods work.
Christians need to recall the truth of the Scriptures that personal fulfillment is a great spiritual paradox. We are most filled when we empty ourselves and become filled serving others. Jesus taught us whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister (servant). . . . even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister (serve) (Matthew 20:26-28).
Paul said of his own heart, I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, yet, not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). And again, I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1). Reasonable service is not being served (having your needs met), but serving (meeting the needs of others). We need to relearn the axiom It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
Lets not demand that Gods church be a place where people (leadership or membership) cater to our desires and preferences. Lets turn it right-side up again and be a part of a congregation, not for what it can do for us, but for what we can do for it.
Re: "I Want a Church That Meets My Needs"
|November 29 2004, 9:49 PM |
"Lets not demand that Gods church be a place where people (leadership or membership) cater to our desires and preferences. Lets turn it right-side up again and be a part of a congregation, not for what it can do for us, but for what we can do for it."
I agree that the focus should be on God first, but do the two always have to be mutually exclusive? Can't we have a church that does follow God's design and is still uplifting to the individual Christian?
Re: "I Want a Church That Meets My Needs"
|October 31 2011, 2:58 AM |
It's been quite a while since the question was posed.
Meanwhile, there have been doubters, especially among the posters of late (i.e., with the liberal, progressive mindset) who are being reminded that ConcernedMembers has dedicated itself mainly to informing congregations and individual Christians that "change agents" operating in the brotherhood are "wolves in sheep's clothing" whose mission is to seek whom they may devour.
Some of these posters even refuse to acknowledge the presence of these change agents. If they are aware that these agents exist or that the Community Church Movement is ongoing, it appears that their alignment is with them and their schemes.
I now find it necessary to do some excavating and resurrecting some of the past articles dealing with this particular subject. And publishing many more.
The question you posed is a good and fair one.
The answer was provided by the author of that article in reference to the expression: "meets our needs." Here's what he stated:
The phrase itself has virtually become a new religious term. Many persons praise or blame a particular congregation because it is or is not meeting my needs.
Let me hasten to say that if the phrase means that we need to satisfy spiritual hunger, then it is a good expression.
Re: "I Want a Church That Meets My Needs"
|October 31 2011, 11:24 AM |
Man, you must be really desperate for things to post if you have to search the archives for questions to answer from seven years ago!
Just Who Is More Desperate?
|October 31 2011, 8:54 PM |
Man, you must be really desperate to start/keep posting again. Again, right?
Sorry, but part of my response above is worth repeating: "Meanwhile, there have been doubters, especially among the posters of late (i.e., with the liberal, progressive mindset) who are being reminded that ConcernedMembers has dedicated itself mainly to informing congregations and individual Christians that 'change agents' operating in the brotherhood are 'wolves in sheep's clothing' whose mission is to seek whom they may devour.
"Some of these posters even refuse to acknowledge the presence of these change agents."
The question is as relevant seven years ago as it is today. Furthermore, I'll be publishing many more articles. I said that.
Above all, I wanted "The Community Church" and "The Christian Chronicle Facilitates the Community Church Takeover of the Churches of Christ" (by Gary McDade) to be on the front page.
You left on your own volition. So, there's no reason for you to give the impression that you are NOW opposed to what CM is trying to accomplish. That you are now aligned with the doubters? (At times, it's not difficult to figure out games people play and who they are.
|This message has been edited by Donnie.Cruz from IP address 188.8.131.52 on Oct 31, 2011 9:06 PM|
Re: Just Who Is More Desperate?
|November 1 2011, 10:38 AM |
Donnie is right. Fred does not think there are enough articles here at the concerned website. People may not be convinced by the hundreds of materials and writings but if Donnie and Ken can speed the pace and increase the volume then maybe just maybe these people will finally come to the light and hate the change agents. Repeat and repost all former articles! Produce new articles! Ken wake up earlier with that pot of coffee and get to work!
|November 1 2011, 9:53 PM |
You're on target! Most of the articles from various writers or sources are published here with HTML coding (center, bold, italicize, underline, indent, color, etc.). If you could assist or work not-for-food, that would be nice as we really need to speed up our publications.
As you know, we would like to publish articles regarding change agents themselves, as well as articles that rebut their fallacious arguments against the church they still claim to belong or cling to.
You know [about] Jeff Walling, originator [?] of "The Winterfest for the Youth Experiencing Boredom," don't you?
I wonder about that [your] favorite change agent, one of the stronger proponents of mechanical music in the assembly. Do you have anything to write about Jeff and where he serves as "Senior Minister" at Providence Rd. Church of Christ? You can do some research for us that we can publish. Do they have IM at Providence Road now?
Re: Volunteer, Anyone?
|November 2 2011, 10:57 AM |
Ken did not publish any articles yesterday on the change agents. He is not fulfilling his calling and vital role in the kingdom. Donnie here is what the Providence Church says on their website about worship and instruments. Our Sunday morning services are done a cappella, that is, we do not use musical instruments. A cappella singing is a tradition of most Churches of Christ. We do use instrumental worship at youth gatherings, childrens worship, Celebrate Recovery and other special gatherings. Fred is glad to be of service in this momentous ministry!
Fred Mentioned "Change Agents" -- a First?
|November 2 2011, 7:39 PM |
Your research report is off-topic. But, at last, you mentioned "change agents." You may be learning about your mentors, after all, perhaps slowly but surely. Give credit to ConcernedMembers, at least.
Are you no longer a supporter and disciple of Jeff Walling?
Your next assignment is predictive in nature -- How long do you think it will take for Jeff Walling to transform or reform the Providence Road church into a Community Church with MECHANICAL MUSIC being a vital part when the saints assemble? How long has he been the "pastor" at the PRCC? Here's a hint that might assist you with your prophecy -- P.R.C.C. now has "Praise Team" (a.k.a. "CHOIR"). It even has a "Praise Team" store with supplies. It now has both the "TRADITIONAL" and "CONTEMPORARY" divisions!!! One of the divisions does not have a CHOIR, soloist, and other performers. The other division has all of the above. Trust me -- the division is the result of the controversial Praise Team and Contemporary Christian Music issue.
No, I'm not giving it all away. Do your research, Fred. I shall await -- the real research, Fred, not some comedic verbiage.
You Need Help!
|November 2 2011, 10:01 PM |
Feel good now Donnie? Feel intellectual about giving Fred a REAL assignment?
It's obvious with sarcastic pathetic banter like yours that this site is nothing more than a cancer.
Change Agents Exposed!!! A Cancer?
|November 2 2011, 11:58 PM |
A REAL assignment! It's a way of communicating or interacting, stupid.
Change Agents!!! Still refusing to say those words??? Acknowledge the presence of your mentors, Dave. I know that you have learned a lot about the change agents more from here than from there. Please don't insult Christ by referring to Him as the greatest change agent on earth. The Lord did not change the church He established and owns. Rather, it is your mentors, the change agents, who are changing the church of our Lord.
Contemporary Christan Music is Awesome!
|November 3 2011, 8:35 PM |
Stupid, me? I don't feel stupid, even though you have labeled me as such. Its ok.....when you can't take down the message.....try and attack the messenger.
Bring it on Donnie.....I really didn't expect much more from you.
Re: Contemporary Christan Music is Awesome!
|November 3 2011, 9:52 PM |
You sound tough a lot of times. So tough that you would call someone a sinner and PERSONALLY judge him as hell-bound. I didn't realize you could be thin-skinned at times. I wasn't calling you "stupid" even if you were. "... ... ..., stupid" is a common, general expression.
Admit it, Dave. you've learned a lot about your mentors, the change agents, from this website. Like it or not.
P.S.: The contemporary "Christian Rock" music is awesome? The 7-11 music -- repeat the line with 7 words 11 times!!!!! It's the same "Christian Rock" music that refers to God as "awesome." Instead of worshiping the Father in heaven with "AWE" and "REVERENCE."
Now who or what is more "Awesome!" -- Contemporary Christian Music (Rock) or God?
Stupid is as Stupid Does...
|November 4 2011, 8:05 PM |
Donnie said "The 7-11 music -- repeat the line with 7 words 11 times!!!!! It's the same "Christian Rock" music that refers to God as "awesome." "
and whats da matta with that? Something akin to a chant, eh? Don't chant if you don't like it, but quit judging someone else's heart because they don't worship as you would PREFER.
|November 7 2011, 3:52 PM |
He has sent redemption to His people;
He has ordained His covenant forever;
Holy and awesome is His name.
from Psalm 111
|November 7 2011, 9:11 PM |
"Holy and awesome is His name."
"Awesome Name": an Example
|November 8 2011, 1:11 AM |
Really, what is God's name? Racnor, you're a good researcher. Can you find what it is in the Old Testament, e.g.?
I'll write something briefly later on about the etymology of words.
For now, I would say that "Samson" for whatever it means is an awesome name, but I do not revere the name. Do you see my point ... somewhat for now?
Awesome-Praise, Bless, Glory in, Glorify, Revere the Holy Name
|November 8 2011, 8:36 AM |
The LORD is great in Zion,
And He is exalted above all the peoples.
Let them praise Your great and awesome name;
Holy is He. (Psalm 99)
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name (Psalm 103)
My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever (Psalm 145)
Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad (Psalm 105)
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy (Revelation 15)
O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name (Nehemiah 1)